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Maximize PR Impact at Industry Conferences

Now that we can call a wrap on the fall conference season, take this opportunity to count your blessings (You survived!). Here at Devon, we’ve been carefully collecting feedback from our clients, industry analysts, the press and conference organizers to determine how to get the most out of your time on site. Tips and highlights down below.  

Press Kits that Aren’t the Pits
We’re often asked whether it’s worth creating a press kit or not. The short answer is “yes and no.” Attending press, analysts and bloggers DO peruse the press kit table. They DO take kits. But press kit tables are often overflowing and overwhelming, and a majority of those folders get tossed at the end of the day. 

So what to do?  Create a compact press kit with select information. Analysts love one-pager fact sheets that highlight recent news and important stats. Shoot for relevant and surprising content that highlights benefits and tells a story. And invest in smaller quantities to be kind to those shipping conference materials as well as the environment. You won’t likely need more copies than there are people on the Press List.

One of our favorites this conference season was Equifax Workforce Solutions HR Technology Conference press kit. It was available by USB, personally hand delivered during briefings, and by paper, in a small and easy-to-grab booklet.

Turn up the Volume

Press Releases that Resound
Should you release big news at the conference? If you have something compelling to share, your timing and strategy can vary depending on audience and type of news. In some cases you may want to consider making the announcement before the big conference and reinforce the message with specialized marketing content and in your press kit.

Regardless of when news is released, make sure it tells a story rather than describes a product. Add customer testimonials and successes when possible. This will bring your technology and its relevance to light for prospective customers and the press and analyst community.

Don’t forget to leverage any public relations opportunities allotted by the conferences, such as annual new product announcement press releases.

Be Present at Briefings
When meeting with press, analysts and bloggers, do your homework and understand the points that will be relevant to each person. Since most meetings last from 30 minutes to an hour, don’t expect to do a deep dive or full demo. During the briefing, offer the analyst, blogger or member of the press the opportunity for additional time with your company’s experts or a full demo. 

Don’t expect to score a meeting if you reach out a few days in advance of the conference. Identify individuals with whom you’d like to meet and approach them about month or more in advance; their dance cards are likely to fill quickly.

And as a tip for ALL briefing participants, be present. Consider your time at an industry conference and in the press room as a unique opportunity to directly interact and build relationships with the people you’ve been pursuing via email, phone and social media all year. Schedule adequate breaks between briefings so that you can refuel, eat lunch and rest, and take advantage of that opportunity by being present; you can always tweet about it later.

Earn a Speaking Slot
Gain extra visibility at conferences by earning a speaking slot or award opportunity. Not only will you gain extra exposure and credibility with conference attendees, but press often cover the most compelling sessions in their blogs and articles.

While many 2014 earned opportunities are now closed, some conferences are still seeking presentations that will pique interest and add value to the agenda.

Plan far in advance, especially for conferences that require client co-presenters. You’ll want to give your partners enough time to consider topics, prepare requirements, review the proposal and clear approval with all the necessary parties in their organizations without feeling rushed.